How to Set Up and Join a Zoom Meeting

Clear instructions to Zoom's essential video conferencing skills

More than ever, people are resorting to virtual meetings hosted using web conferencing software like Zoom rather than meeting face-to-face. Whether you are collaborating with colleagues who are across town or across the country, or you are working from home and need to talk to co-workers, there's a good chance you'll need to join a Zoom meeting or host one yourself. Here's everything you need to know about how to set up a Zoom meeting or accept an invitation to join someone else's.

What You Need to Know About Zoom

Zoom has become immensely popular in the last few years and is often the web conferencing tool of choice. That's because it's easy and, in many situations, completely free to use. You don't need to pay to join someone else's Zoom meeting, and in virtually every situation, you can start your own Zoom meeting for free as well.

The only real limitations on free Zoom meetings are time (meetings are limited to 40 minutes) and the number of participants (100 people or fewer).

How to Join a Zoom Meeting

It doesn't really matter whether you're joining a Zoom meeting from a PC, Mac, or mobile device, or what browser you are using. The process is essentially the same in every case. 

  • In most cases, you will be joining a scheduled zoom meeting using an email invitation. If you have an email, click the link provided in the message. You will be prompted to open the Zoom app, or install the app if it's not already on your computer. Follow the instructions to install it.
  • If you don't have an email invitation with a link, but someone has provided you with a meeting ID, open a browser and go to Zoom's Join a Meeting page. Enter the meeting ID and click Join.

How to Host a Zoom Meeting

Hosting your own meeting isn't much more complicated than joining one. You'll need a free Zoom account, and then your meeting is just a few clicks away.

  1. If you already have a Zoom account, sign in. Otherwise, open a browser and go to Zoom.us, then click the link at the top of the web page that says Sign Up, It's Free. Alternatively, you can go directly to the Sign Up page.

    The Zoom web page
  2. Complete the signup process. You'll need to enter an email address and then confirm this is your email address by clicking the Activate Account link in an email that Zoom sends to you. 

    An email invitation from Zoom
  3. After your email is confirmed, finish the signup process by entering your name and creating a password.

  4. Once you submit your name and password, Zoom will ask you to invite colleagues. This is an optional step, and you can choose not to do this. Click Skip this step

  5. After you have an account, go to the Zoom website and make sure you're logged into your account using the link at the top of the page. Then hover your mouse pointer over Host a Meeting and choose With Video On or With Video Off

    Starting a meeting in Zoom
  6. After a moment, you should see a prompt to open the Zoom app. If you do, click Open Zoom

  7. If you don't see the prompt, you might need to install the app before proceeding. The easiest way to do this is to click download & run Zoom, then follow the instructions to install the app on your computer. 

How to Schedule a Zoom Meeting

You don't have to start your meeting immediately. Zoom allows you to schedule a meeting for a later day or time. 

  1. To do that, open a browser and go to Zoom. Then click the link that says Schedule a New Meeting at the top of the page. 

    Schedule a new Zoom meeting.
  2. Complete the Schedule a Meeting form to set up a meeting name, description, date and time, as well as other details. When you've completed the meeting setup, click Save at the bottom of the page.

    Scheduling a Zoom meeting
  3. To the right of Join URL, click Copy the Invitation and paste this information into an email message. Use your favorite email app to send the message to whomever you want to attend your meeting.